Providence, Golden Life get new Comox Valley long-term beds

Providence, Golden Life get new Comox Valley long-term beds

Golden Life’s Garden View Village in Kimberley  / Photo by the Kimberley Bulletin

Providence, Golden Life get new Comox Valley long-term beds


This article will be updated with additional location reactions to the news as it comes in

Golden Life Management Corporation and Providence Residential Care Community society will share the Comox Valley’s 151 long-awaited additional residential care beds.

Minister of Health Adrian Dix made the announcement at the Florence Filberg Centre in Courtenay this morning. Local MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard also attended.

Golden Life, a Cranbrook-based company, will build 120 residential care beds and six hospice beds on property in Courtenay. The hospice beds include two new beds and the four existing beds that will move from The Views at St. Joseph.

Golden Life currently operates 13 seniors facilities; 10 in the British Columbia Kootenay region and three in Alberta. A fourth Alberta location will open soon.

Construction of the new Comox Valley facility will begin this summer and is expected to complete before the end of 2020.

The newly-created Providence Residential Care Community Society, which assumes ownership April 1 of The Views and the 17-acre St. Joseph’s property at the top of Comox Hill, will receive 31 beds, plus four respite beds.

They consist of the 21 temporary beds that Island Health opened at the former acute care hospital, which now become permanent, and an additional 10 new beds. The Views will convert the existing four hospice beds to respite beds.

“In addition to the RFP process, Providence Residential and Community Care Society … has an agreement to work with Island Health on a potential campus of care redevelopment plan,” according a Ministry of Health news release this morning.

The Views currently operates 116 residential care beds, which will be redeveloped to current standards as part of the agreement.

PRCC Vice-Chair Chris Kelsey, of Comox, could not say when redevelopment of the St. Joe’s property will begin.

Celeste Mullin, vice-president, Golden Life Management Corp. said, “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the Minister of Health, Island Health and Comox Valley Hospice Society to bring exemplary housing, care and services to the Comox Valley. Our villages are more than bricks and mortar. They are vibrant and dynamic communities that support each person’s unique beliefs, values and wishes affording them the opportunity to direct and live their best quality of life.”

Chris Kelsey, chair of the St. Joseph’s board of directors, gave this statement to Decafnation.

“This announcement is a watershed moment for St. Joseph’s and our community. Over the past five or more years, we have been working hard planning a future role for the St. Joseph’s site that best serves the needs of our community. Our Board, management team, and staff are extremely grateful for this opportunity. This announcement allows PRCC and us, in partnership with Island Health, to take very concrete steps to implement our ambitious plans and to revolutionize the care that we provide to our most vulnerable citizens. We have always considered it to be an amazing privilege to serve our community, and we look forward to the hard work ahead and to the continuation of our mission.”


Who is Golden Life?

Golden Life’s founding history makes it an interesting choice to build the Comox Valley much-needed and twice-delayed long-term care beds.

In the 1990s, Cranbrook construction company owner, Endre Lillejord, tried to find housing for his mother that “supported independence and dignity,” but such facilities were not common then.

So Lillejord directed his Golden Life Construction company to build the facility he envisioned for his mother. He called it Joseph Creek Village, and his mother moved in with the first wave of residents in 1998.

The Comox Valley announcement is part of the Health Ministry’s $240 million three-year plan “to increase the direct care seniors receive in residential care homes in communities and across the province.”

Dix has set a target of 3.36 care hours per-resident-day, on average across health authorities, by 2021.


Good news for caregivers, nurses

Today’s announcement brings some good news for Comox Valley Hospital workers.

Island Health opened the temporary beds at St. Joe’s, called Mountain View, to ease serious overcapacity issues at the Comox Valley Hospital. Recently, there were more than 200 admitted patients in the hospital, which was designed for a maximum of 153 patients. That has stressed hospital staff.

Most of the extra patients no longer need acute care, but due to the current shortage of long-term care beds, they have nowhere to go.

The announcement is also good news for some family caregivers.

The shortage of long-term care and respite beds has caused problems for at-home caregivers, many of whom are exhausted and in crisis. The lack of available, publicly-funded beds has forced many family members to care for their loved ones beyond their capacity to do so.

Island Health issued a Request for Proposal for 70 new long-term care beds three years ago, but cancelled it a year later, and issued a new RFP last year.


Not everyone pleased

Today’s announcement hasn’t quelled the concerns of several caregiver groups in the Comox Valley, who fear the new beds won’t be enough.

“Very pleased to see the government finally take action on the crying need of two years ago,” caregiver Delores Broten told Decafnation.”But the need continues to grow and by the time these beds are ready, we will ned as many again.

Caregivers also fear a private operator will run a low-budget operation and eventually sell to an even larger private corporation with negative consequences for patients and their families.

They point to Retirement Concepts, a Canadian-owned company purchased by the Chinese insurance company Anbang in 2017, and later seized by the Chinese government over allegations of fraud.

Retirement Concepts ran 21 facilities from Quebec to BC, including the Comox Valley Seniors Village and Casa Loma, an independent living facility, where workers have been on strike.

Another source told Decafnation this morning that Comox Valley Seniors Village has been running without a Director of Care or a General Manager since September, and that there have been at least five complaints to the provincial licensing officer about the lack of supervision.

The source also said Seniors Village is literally rationing the jam for residents.

Golden Life employees gave the company mixed reviews on the Indeed Canada website. Most unfavorable reviews mentioned understaffing and wage issues. But the company got better reviews from five people who commented on another employee-review site called





— Residential care homes offer seniors 24-hour professional supervision and care in a safe and secure environment.
— Through the $240-million investment over three years, the average direct care hours in
Contact:B.C. will increase from 3.11 per-resident day in 2016, to 3.24 by 2019, reaching 3.36 by
— Progress has been made with almost 270,000 more care hours being provided throughout the province by converting part-time and casual staff to full time.
— New funding of $48.4 million in 2018 will add more than one million hours of direct care.

For more information on increasing staffing in residential care homes, visit here




Castle Wood Village
Castlegar, BC

Columbia Garden Village
Invermere, BC

Crest View Village
Creston, BC

Garden View Village
Kimberley, BC

Joseph Creek Village
Cranbrook, BC

Lake View Village
Nelson, BC

Mountain Side Village
Fruitvale, BC

Rocky Mountain Village
Fernie, BC

Rose Wood Village
Trail, BC

Whispering Winds Village
Pincher Creek, AB

Silver Kettle Village
Grand Forks, BC

Evanston Grand Village
Calgary, AB

Grande Avenue Village
Cochrane, AB

Coming Soon
Seton, AB


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Bishop gifts St. Joe’s Comox site to Providence Health Care

Bishop gifts St. Joe’s Comox site to Providence Health Care

George Le Masurier photo

Bishop gifts St. Joe’s Comox site to Providence Health Care


The Views at St. Joe’s has been gifted to a new entity called the Providence Residential & Community Care Services Society (PRCC).

Chair of the St. Joe’s Board of Trustees Chris Kelsey told Decafnation last night the Bishop of Victoria has given St. Joe’s, including its 17 acres of property at the top of Comox Hill to the nonprofit company.

Providence Health Care is a British Columbia Catholic health care organization that operates St. Paul’s Hospital and seven community care facilities in the Lower Mainland. The Bishop of Victoria sits on the board of a society that owns Providence.

The Views at St. Joe’s is Providence’s first acquisition outside the Lower Mainland and is, at the moment, the sole operating facility of the newly-formed PRCC. It’s expected that Providence’s other community care facilities will eventually be moved in the new company.

The acquisition means that, at the closing date of April 1, the current St. Joe’s board will be dissolved. But Kelsey has been appointed Vice Chair of PRCC, and he said there will always be representation on its board.

“What this means is, we’re not going anywhere,” Kelsey said.

Kelsey said the St. Joe’s board starting working on its future role four years ago, when it became clear that Island Health was closing down its acute care hospital. And, he said, Providence shares their vision of a campus of care dedicated for seniors.

“With Providence, we’re building an organization focused solely on seniors care,” he said. “A dementia village concept is part of that plan.”

Running an acute care hospital requires “90 percent of your attention and your budget,” leaving less flexibility to make seniors care better.

“Now we can focus just on that,” he said.

The Views staff will become PRCC employees and medical staff will receive their privileges through the new company.

FURTHER READING: Providence Residential & Community Care

To get out from under the financial restrictions of the Hospital Act, it’s the intent to eventually make PRCC an independent entity, and distance itself from Providence hospitals. That would allow PRCC to borrow funds for capital project, which it cannot do under the Hospital Act.

That’s important for The Views, which needs to be modernized, as do several of Providence’s existing and aging seniors facilities the Lower Mainland.

Providence assisted St. Joe’s in preparing its proposal for the new Comox Valley long-term care beds.

But Kelsey said he does not believe St. Joe’s is the leading proponent for the news beds.

“If that were the case, we would be talking by now. And we’re not,” he said.

But that won’t delay PRCC from moving ahead with a new vision for the St. Joe’s site.

“Whether or not we receive any of the new long-term care beds from Island Health, we will move ahead with a redevelopment of The Views,” Kelsey said. “Either through a competitive process or direct negotiation.”

Kelsey said St. Joe’s and Providence have been working with Island Health and the Ministry of Health through the transfer of ownership process, and both have supported the change.

The Views Administrative Officer Michael Aikins said the change in ownership actually accelerates the redevelopment plans.

“With PPRC as owner, we’re going to build a community with various levels of housing and care options that support seniors, and their spouses and partners, to age in place on a single campus — ranging from independent living, long-term care and specialized dementia care and neighbourhoods,” he said in a news release.





Compassionate care for over a century
Providence Health Care’s commitment to serving those most in need began more than 120 years ago when the Sisters of Providence
came to Vancouver and opened St. Paul’s Hospital, a 25-bed “cottage” on the path to English Bay. Now operating 17 sites, Providence
Health Care is a health and wellness resource for families, patients and residents from all parts of British Columbia.

Providence Health Care was formed in 2000 through the consolidation of CHARA Health Care Society, Holy Family Hospital and St.
Paul’s Hospital, and is now one of the largest Catholic health care organizations in Canada. Providence sites include two acute care
hospitals, five residential care homes, an assisted living residence, a rehabilitation centre, seven community dialysis units, a hospice,
an addictions clinic and a youth health clinic.

Living our values
To this day, Providence continues the mission of the five founding congregations of sisters by meeting the physical, emotional, social
and spiritual needs of patients through compassionate care, teaching and research. Providence welcomes the challenge of caring for
some of society’s most vulnerable populations. 

Global leader in health care excellence and innovation
Providence is home to St. Paul’s Hospital. St. Paul’s serves 174,000 unique patients who account for over 500,000 visits annually.
As one of two adult academic health sciences centres in B.C. (affiliated with the University of British Columbia and other postsecondary institutions), St. Paul’s is a renowned acute care hospital recognized provincially, nationally and internationally for its
work, including its several centres of excellence and affiliated research programs. In coordination with its health partners – including
the Ministry of Health, Vancouver Coastal Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority – the Providence Health Care Research
Institute leads research in more than 30 clinical specialties. This research continues to advance the lives of British Columbians
every day.


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